Lowest String on RG8 really quiet compared to the others

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by jamerman, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. jamerman

    jamerman New Member

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    Hi!



    Just bought this second hand RG8 from Gear4Music on Ebay. All stock electronics and such like. Loving the setup apart from the strings (factory, meaning that's a .65 as the lowest - way too thin for me!), but I'm having an issue with that lowest string: It seems to be a lot quieter than the 7th.



    Even if I tune up that 8th string to a B (which is fine considering the gague), it's still noticeably quieter than the 7th. I've tried adjusting the pickup height, but the problem persists. I don't *think* there's a volume problem with no amplification, but it's a little too quiet to tell.



    Would changing that 8th string to a heavier gague help? I'm a bit puzzled, so any advice would be fantastic.
     
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  2. Thaeon

    Thaeon Cosmic Question Asker

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    You have a lot of factors happening. One being that the low string on an 8 string doesn't have any of the fundamental note it in. It's all overtones. Part of it is scale length. To get the fundamental note, you'd need a scale length in excess of 24 feet. Part is that guitar pickups generally a mids focused and most of the energy of the low strings is taken up by the lower frequency information leaving less energy available to represent the overtones where the pickups frequencies are focused. The last bit is that your amp's preamp (unless using something like a modeler) will carve off some of these frequencies. Finally, your amp's wattage may not have the headroom to reproduce the frequencies in question, especially at lower volume. Low frequencies require orders of magnitude higher power to be produced than higher frequencies do at the same volume level. Some or all of those things are most likely affecting why the low F# is sounding quieter. Increasing tension of the string will help with that as you'll get a better transfer of energy from the pick to the string. After that you're looking at modifying your signal chain.
     
  3. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    Also, the stock pickups are cort bass pickups and ergo are trash.

    Get them swapped ASAP
     
  4. jamerman

    jamerman New Member

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    You were dead right on the string tension. Luckily I'd ordered some .74s, and putting on one of those fixed me up immediately. I've had rattling strings before on bass guitars, but this is the first time I've had a string be so loose that it stopped notes being produced! Cheers!
     
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  5. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    Bad pickups, or dead string, the string bieng loose has nothing to do with it.
     
  6. GraemeH

    GraemeH SS.org Regular

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    I have an RG8 and through multiple string changes I noticed it's just the high end frequencies of the 8th dies faster than on the rest of the strings. I don't know what it is about the thicker string or lower tension that deadens the string faster, but the top 7 still have that newish snappy twang when the 8th dies out and sounds flat and dull. These are whatever brand of strings came on the guitar plus the D'addario 9-65 sets I've been putting on it.

    When looking for info at the time I came across this from Strandberg;

    https://strandbergguitars.com/product/strandberg-optimized-tension-8-string-set-x5/

    Obviously they're trying to sell you something (and I haven't tried those strings), but the description fits - sounds like a common issue for 8s?
     
  7. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    The lower tuning you get, the more important things like scale and tension get (and the more trade-offs there are).

    Remember the low F# is only two semitones from the low E on a bass, and they typically have much thicker strings plus a 7”+ longer scale.

    You can crank up the string gauge to increase tension and make the feel more like the other seven strings, but that will drastically change the sound. String tension seems to be almost exponential so if you have a set of 10’s for the first six strings, if you want equal tension you’ll end up with a bridge cable for the F#, and that massive size difference from the other strings means the low F# will be woollier, bassier, looser.

    To get the sound more in-line with the other seven strings you need to keep the gauge more similar, so reduce string size, which means less tension on the low strings. Which means you need good technique to not knock it sharp when you hit the string. Trade-offs.

    Setup is also majorly important. Action too low can kill the sustain, feel floppy, and sound weak, especially if the string is loose and rattling against the frets. The low frequency of the note means big arc when you hit the note.

    But if you crank that low string too high in relation to the other strings, it doesn’t matter how in-tune it is, when you play a chord, it will sound out of tune, since you’re bending that string slightly to meet the fret (slightly sharp), while the other strings are closer to start with, thus less bend. Higher action does increase the perceived tension though. Balancing act.

    Specific to the RG8, the pickups are indeed bass pickups. I think they’re workable, but nothing amazing. They’re not very hot, so I found you need to crank them pretty close to the strings to get a good sound.
     
  8. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Nuuu =) All strings of all pitches and all gauges on guitar or bass do have the fundamental harmonic present.
    The fundamental harmonic usually has less amplitude than (approximately) harmonics 2, 3, 4.
    Absolutely not =) In fact a shorter scale means more stiffness, less higher harmonics, so relatively more fundamental.
     
  9. Thaeon

    Thaeon Cosmic Question Asker

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    If you’re approaching it from a physics standpoint, no. It’s not possible for the fundamental frequency to be present, because the scale isn’t long enough. The waveform of F#1 is 24’ long. The string can’t physically vibrate at the fundamental frequency. It’s only overtones. Your brain fills in the fundamental frequency based on the overtone sequence. And scale length does affect perceived stiffness. Longer lengths of string at smaller gauge tuned to the same pitch have higher string tension. That’s why you can get away with a longer string being thinner on a lower not. Check a string tension calculator. As far as less higher harmonics on a shorter scale, sure. That doesn’t automatically mean more fundamental. Just means a rounder tone because there is less sibilance.
     
  10. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Well, i am actually a qualified physicist =) What you state here is a wild misunderstanding.
    The waveform of F#1 being 24 feet is only for a pressure wave in air (sound), so only applies to organ pipes, that has nothing to do with lateral displacement waves in a metal string.
    The fundamental, harmonic 1, is always present to some degree in any vibrating string.
    The relative amplitudes of the various harmonics in a string depend on where it is plucked. Because guitar and bass strings are plucked near the end the fundamental is somewhat weak.
    You can confirm all this by reading about the physics of vibrating strings. Nowhere will sound waves be mentioned, or that the equivalent sound wavelength needs to be shorter than the string scale length.
    Possibly, but not necessarily. That depends on the specifc increase of length and the specifc decrease of gauge.
     
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  11. Thaeon

    Thaeon Cosmic Question Asker

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    Fair enough, just read a bunch on it. Apparently acoustics are poor producers of fundamentals. Not electrics, since the magnetic flux is responsible for the notes not the string acoustics.

    If you increase string length and mass an pitch remain the same, tension will increase. At least that’s what I’m lead to believe by the math of string string tension calculators.
     
  12. frank falbo

    frank falbo SS.org Regular

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    I would very much be suspect of the magnetic field within the pickup, and hardly anything else. The excursion of the 8th string is wide. If anything, the prevailing science is that the lowest string is usually the loudest on any guitar, at any tuning, so long as the magnetic circuit is doing it justice. It sounds like the pickup may be off center within the cover (that’s a thing with soapbars, there is wiggle room inside) or for traditional humbucker builds sometimes the base magnet isn’t centered on the chassis under the coils.
     
  13. frank falbo

    frank falbo SS.org Regular

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    As for fundamental misunderstandings (teehee, see what I did there?) I usually point out why does a minuscule driver in an earbud have no problem reproducing low fundamentals into your eardrum only millimeters away, or how is a phonograph needle (although heavily bass boosted) able to sense low fundamentals with such little movement? Those aren’t overtones being restructured into fundamentals by the ear-brain, they’re actual fundamentals.
     
  14. nightlight

    nightlight SS.org Regular

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    I don't think this is a tension problem at all. On most guitars I've played, even cheap ones, the eighth string is usually as loud as the higher ones.

    A few things you could try @jamerman . Touch the pickup with a metal coin just under the eighth string and then try beneath other strings.

    Do you hear the clicking sound louder in some place than others?

    I noticed that this guitar also has two pups. Is the eighth string also lower in volume on the neck pickup?

    See if you can determine if the pickup is defective.

    Just speculating here, but could it also be that your amp and cab are struggling to reproduce the low note, which makes you perceive the 8th string as being lower in volume?
     
    Thaeon likes this.

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